Top 10 daily habits of people with a growth mindset


My latest research involved searching the internet or reaching out directly to people that I consider to have a growth mindset.  These people included athletes, entrepreneurs, CEOs, fellow health coaches and bloggers, friends, and participants of my daily habits challenge.  After 2 weeks of research, I had a list of 118 people that had revealed a total of 442 daily habits.  The results revealed some common trends in daily habits so I lumped habits into categories and ranked them in order.  Here are the 10 ten categories of daily habits of people with a growth mindset. 

#10: Spend time with family.

The 10th most popular category of habits was to spend time with family.  Full disclosure: I considered pets as members of the family.  Examples of habits that fell into this category included:

  • Spend time with wife and dogs
  • Hug children and tell them I love them
  • Eat dinner as a family
  • Play with cats

#9: Practice or train.

Seeing as though 18% of the people included in my data were elite or professional athletes, it’s no surprise that 100% of them mentioned training for their sport on a daily basis.  Some of them trained for their sport multiple times per day.  Also included in this category were those non-athletes that identified practicing a skill as their daily habit.  These non-sport skills included things like playing the piano, or writing something. 

#8: Declutter.

The 8th most identified daily habit was some form of decluttering, organization or a specific chore.   Some examples included:

  • 10 minutes of declutter in the morning
  • Clean all dishes in the sink before bed
  • Clean the bathroom surfaces after every shower
  • Organize desk before they leave it for the day
  • Make bed

#7: Reflect.

Sixteen percent of habits identified by the people I researched fell into the “reflect” category, and almost in every case involved spending time writing in a journal.   Several folks also professed that they read the bible every day and then spend some time reflecting on the words they read silently to themselves or write down notes.  Others would reflect on their goals, intentions or health data captured by wearable technology.

#6: Learn something.

Coming in hot at the #6 spot is the “learn” category and was consistent across all types of people.  The most popular type of habit in this category was reading about personal development, but other habits included: learning a new language, listening to podcasts, participating in an online course, or geeking out and reading an article of interest within a specific niche. 

#5: Set daily intentions.

The 5th most popular type of daily habit was some form of intention setting exercise or practice.  Every single habit that related to setting intentions was either done the night before or first thing in the morning.  The majority of the intentions were in the form of identifying 3 Most Important Tasks (or MITs) that they wanted to work on that day.  Others would take the time to write a to-do list, design their day by blocking off time frames to complete specific tasks or journal about their intentions for how they would want the day to go. 

#4: Eat (or drink) breakfast.

Even though there were quite a few people on the list that subscribed to intermittent fasting, there were more people that placed an emphasis on eating or drinking something for breakfast every morning. Of all the people that revealed breakfast to be a part of their morning routine, 20% of them said that their breakfast was in the form of a smoothie or a protein shake.  One thing that I found particularly interesting was that elite and professional athletes ate the same exact thing for breakfast every morning.  Second breakfast was also a common theme among this group since many of them often train in the early morning after a light first breakfast.

#3: Meditate or pray.

The 3rd most popular type of daily action was some form of meditation or prayer.  The time that folks committed to this practice varied anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour.  The type of meditation also varied and included some combination of: mindfulness meditation, visualization,  guided meditation, breath work, and sitting in silence. 

#2: Hydrate.

Hydration was the second most popular daily habit of all people included in this study, and many people declared that hydrating with water, lemon water or water + electrolytes was the very first thing they did when they woke up.  Most people just vaguely claimed that they “drink water upon waking” but others revealed how much they would drink first thing in the morning.  That amount ranged from 8 ounces to 1 liter (33 ounces). 

#1: Move.

While I was hoping that the number 1 habit would be to get outside every day (sadly, that was #13), I was pleasantly surprised to find that this category was the most popular daily habit among all included in this study.  YAY!  Some folks were vague in their answers and just said that they exercised or did movement.  Others specifically identified the type of movement that they did and I was able to sub-categorize into the following: 

  • Mobility – activation or recovery exercises, dynamic stretching, yoga, and foam rolling
  • Light exercise – walking, with or without a dog
  • Strenuous exercise – running or lifting weights

Note: I did not include those athletes that specifically said that their habit was training for their sport in this category since I identified that as a separate category.  

Other interesting results

I thought it was interesting that of the 118 people included in this study, only 1 of them mentioned their oral health routine. That likely doesn’t mean that 117 people don’t brush their teeth,  it just means that it’s such an obvious habit that they didn’t reveal it when asked what their daily habits are. 

Approximately 70 percent of all of the habits recorded fell into the top 10 categories listed above.  The remaining 30% of habits identified fell into these not-so popular categories:

  • A skin care routine
  • Morning coffee
  • Get outside
  • Gratitude practice
  • Afternoon nap (this was particularly popular with the athletes)
  • Creative time
  • Taking vitamins
  • Daily affirmations
  • Disconnecting from the Internet and/or devices
  • Cold showers
  • Reading fiction before bed
  • Networking (a popular habit among the CEOs and Entrepreneurs)

I’m currently having SO MUCH FUN running a free 30-Day Daily Habits Challenge every month and will add additional data to my study as participants incorporate new daily habits into their life.  Therefore, I’ll continue to update this top 10 list with additional people and their habits.  I’d love to have you join me in the next one!  If you’re interested, click here to sign up.  It costs nothing to join and could help you integrate some of these habits mentioned above.

Do you have daily habits that fall into the top 10 categories?  Do you have other daily habits that didn’t make the cut in this post?  I’d love to hear about them!

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